Don’t you think you’re a little late!

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Mohammad Miyan & Ors. v The State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. in its order dated 21stAugust, 2018 while quashing the proceedings against all the accused persons under Section 498A of IPC and Sections 3/4  of the Dowry Prohibitions Act, 1961, pronounced that the Section 498A of IPC and Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961  would not be attracted in a case where the complainant approaches with a case in which there has been a divorce long back before filing of a FIR.

The Hon’ble Apex Court while referring to the Section 498A of IPC  observed that the Section 498A of the IPC opened with the words “ Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman….” Thus, where complainant approaches with a case that there has been a divorce long back before filing of FIR, the Section 498A of IPC in terms would not be attracted.

Copy of order: Order 21.08.2018

What are the Sections 498A of IPC and Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibitions Act, 1961?

Section 498A of IPCHusband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty

As per this section whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with

  • imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and
  • shall also be liable to fine.

The term “cruelty” used in this section refers to

  • any wilful conduct which is of such a nature that is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
  • harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to
    • forcing/coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security, or
    • is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

 Section 3 in the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961Penalty for giving or taking dowry

As per this section, after the commencement of this Act, if any person

  • gives dowry or
  • takes dowry or
  • abets the giving or taking of dowry

then such a person shall be punishable with

  • imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years. However if the court wants to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than 5 years then the Court shall do so only after recording in the judgement, the adequate and special reasons for doing so.
  • Also with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more.

The following are exempted and not included under the purview of this section:

  • Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride (without any demand having been made in that behalf)
  • Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bridegroom (without any demand having been made in that behalf).
  • Presents made by or on behalf of the bride or any person related to the bride which
    • are of a customary nature and
    • do not have a value is excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, such presents are given.

But such presents should be entered in a list maintained in accordance with the rules made under Dowry Prohibitions Act, 1961.

Section 4 in the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 – Penalty for demanding dowry

As per this section, if any person demands either directly or indirectly from

  • the parents or
  • other relatives or
  • guardian of a bride or
  • bridegroom

any dowry, then such a person shall be punishable with

  • imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years. However, the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.
  • and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

-Tushar Kaushik

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